Page 1, 26th September 1947

26th September 1947
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Locations: Berlin, London


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"It Is Impossible To Live Without Breaking the Law"

The first Catholic German journalist to visit his country from England since the war, reports this week on its condition for "The Catholic Herald."

He is Count Albrecht Montgelas, Bavarian Christian Democrat and former editor of the Vossische Zeitung. He returned to London this week after an extensive tour, under the auspices of The Catholic Herald.

Among the important items of news which he brings is the latest report on Theresa Neumann, the Bavarian mystic and stigmatic. This 50-year-old peasant woman, bearing the marks of the Passion of Our Lord, may well now be contributing more to the real regeneration of Germany than all the plans and fusions, thinks Count Montgelas.

On the present condition of his country Count Montgelas confirms stories of the dire state of affairs in which it is impossible to live without breaking the law. He adds important news of a new participation of the laity in the work of the Church by laymen in minor orders in the Diaconat Kirche. He also tells of the Church's land distribution scheme.

By a Staff Reporter The average German to-day has to break the law to live. This was one of the most striking facts I got from the story of the tour of Germany's " assassinated cities " by Count Albrecht Montgelas, Bavarian Christian Democrat.

She Never Had A Food Ration Card

There is one person in Germany to whom food ration cards have not been issued since their introduction at the beginning of Hitler's war.

That person is Theresa Neu. mann, now in her fiftieth year, the village tailor of Konnersreuth's daughter, who since the Lenten season of 1926 shows on her head, her shoulder, her feet, her hands and her side the wounds as inflicted on our Lord's body by the thorns, the heavy cross He carried, the nails and the spear.

It is now 20 years since the extraordinary facts of her life became known outside her own little world through newspaper accounts, first in Germany and then abroad. How the strong and healthy peasant girl had fallen from a chair on which for two hours she had been standing and handling heavy buckets of water while a neighbour's house had been horning. How by this fall she had injured her spine, lost the use of her legs, became totally blind and bed-ridden for seven years.

THE MIRACULOUS HEALING How on the day of the beatification of the St. Theresa of Lisieux (April 29, 1923), for whom, since childhood she had a special devotion, she regained her eyesight. How, two years later, on the day (May 17, 1925) on which the Little Flower was canonised, the Bavarian, Theresa, was suddenly and completely healed from the paralysis and walked unaided to the parish church to give thanks to God and His saint and then a year later the stigmata and her only nourishment the Sacrament of the Altar.

Instead of food coupons she receives an extra allocation of soap, a rare commodity in Germany to-day and one badly needed in Theresa's case for washing her hair, her face and her side, as well as pillow and bedding, stained with blood while she experiences in soul and

Count Montgelas, former editor of the Vossische Zeitung, great Liberal newspaper of pre-Hitler Berlin, returned to London this week.

Can the people live on their rations? I asked.

** A few weeks ago I asked the Governor of one of the largest prisons in Germany a similar question," replied Count Montgelas. " I said, Can Germans live to-day without breaking the law?' " The answer was a decided Nein.'

.'I asked a very high U.S. official in the American zone, a humane man, exactly the same question. He replied, as quickly, `No.' "The gaol to which I referred is designed to accommodate 500 persons awaiting trial. To-day it has 1,300 inmates, mostly arraigned for food and Black Market offences.

" No one can live to-day in Germany without recourse to the Black Market. The only true index ,of economic conditions in the country is provided by Black Market prices. All, even the highest officials in the Government must use it.

Most of the persons in the prison to which I refer, in normal times would never see the inside of a gaol. They break the law to live."


What is the political condition of the country? I asked.

"The people are not the slightest bit interested in politics," came the reply. " They are interested in work for the reconstruction of their country and its rebuilding. They exist in ruins.

How can the parents of children so weak that they can only manage to do two hours of school-work each day, bother about political problems? Germany is devastated." He continued: In the big towns children are living in ruined buildings; there are hundreds without parents. There are no materials to reconstruct even barracks for the accommodation of the unfortunate orphans. Problems such as these are what concern the Germans. They have no time for party politics.


Had these .Germans been left to rebuild their country together, to concentrate op the immediate tasks of living, out of their common efforts a vital and real democracy, untainted with artificial hatreds, would have Come.

" The present German political parties have no real power to execute reforms, and they have no con ception of what is needed. They spend their time jockeying for position and in personal recriminations."

What is happening to the Church? I said.

" There are various influences at work," replied Count Montgelas. " But the strongest is likely to be

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